The Cardinal Rules Of Waldorf Education

Mrs. Marsha Johnson posted this on her Yahoo!Group and I thought is was well-worth sharing as mothers start to plan for homeschooling for the fall.

These are the wise words of Mrs. Johnson:

Cardinal Rules of Waldorf Education

1. Work with the WHOLE CHILD
2. Always begin from the child’s point of view, i.e., do not tell space stories to 4 year olds who have no concept of space, etc. but do tell nature stories about animals s/he sees on a regular basis. Think LOCALLY and expand gradually.
3. Use imitation in birth to 7, imagination in 7 to 14, and inspiration in 14 to 21.
4. Be creative and artistic in your lessons. Avoid abstract concepts, try to find hands on interesting ideas to present your material. 
5. Include movement in nearly every activity, recognize and use in-breathing and out-breathing rhythms to the day
6. Remember Head (morning), heart (rhythmic activities middle of the day) and hands (afternoon activities).
7. Set a home rhythm, get rid of excess material goods, and insist on regular rising and resting times, ensure the children have 11-12 hours of sleep per night and eat as close to Mother Nature fresh as possible!
8. Rid your home of televisions, video poisons, and insist on outdoor play, go camping, hiking, food gathering, and exploring. 
9. Pray before meals and before bed, find a spiritual path and STICK TO IT. Celebrate regular festivals
10. Develop a social network of like minded families anf gather regularly to share, support, care, and enjoy one another. Invest in these lifelong friendships.
11. Care for yourself, pursue a daily lesson for YOU, and invest time in educating yourself and enhancing your skills/abilities/ capacities.
12. Use heart seeing, heart thinking, and heart visioning. Show a warm interest in every single encounter on the physical plane, whether with a weed, a person, a pet, a sunset, or ? Empathize with the Other and teach your young to do so, too.
Love, Mrs Marsha

To join Mrs. Johnson’s Yahoo!Group, please join here

Many blessings,


9 thoughts on “The Cardinal Rules Of Waldorf Education

  1. I love these rules, although I think they are easier said than done when you have a larger family. I have five children and after the birth of our fourth I’ve discovered that it’s difficult to follow the teaching ideas of Waldorf education with all children and still a have time for preparation, learning on my own, etc. Sometimes, I’ve been wondering if Waldorf educatiion is just for the people with fewer children. This doesn’t just apply to homeschoolers, but also to children going to a Waldorf school. You don’t find large families there and you don’t find poor parents either. It’s a far cry from the first Waldorf school which was opened for childen of workers in a factory!

    • Eva, I agree with you. Many of my friends have told me five has been challenging. What I love is that Waldorf gives us some essential truths and ways of looking at childhood development and the arc of development across the lifespan and then we work with that in the home environment which is different than school for certain.
      And it is a shame that Waldorf is not more accessible, some of the Waldorf public charter programs and Waldorf programs for troubled teens has been inspiring. The spiritual basis that underlies Waldorf seems to be problematic for many people within in the public school environment……..
      Many blessings!!

  2. This is a wonderful list. I love Mrs. M – she always inspires me, as do you, Carrie! This list is full of warm reminders of how I want to live, and reading it gives me some clarity especially on the days I feel a little lost and overwhelmed.

  3. Herbwifemama-
    You may not have heard of Number Six as much if you are in Kindergarten Land because we look at Head, Hearts and Hands in shaping the school day for grades children. However, do look for a post in the future. 🙂

  4. Hummm, I would love to know more about heart seeing, thinking, and visioning. Are these specific exercises or meditations in Waldorf? Or a general approach?

  5. Eva, I agree with you in essence, but there are many families at our Waldorf School who have five children. I don’t know how they do it – financially and otherwise – because we have “only” two children.

  6. Pingback: It’s That Time Of Year!! Questions About Waldorf Homeschooling! « The Parenting Passageway

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